Migrant community prepares for sacraments

MARION — The quartet of teenagers huddled over pictures and descriptions about Mass in order to put them in the right order.

Father Jesús Flores also offered hints and assistance as the youths worked together and tried to recall the information he had taught them during the May 5 confirmation class.

"He’s great," Amairani Peña said about Father Flores, who is coordinator of migrant ministry for the Diocese of Rochester. "He does a great job of teaching us."

Seventeen-year-old Amairani is one of 16 students who was preparing for confirmation from the migrant community at Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission at St. Gregory Church. Classes were held this spring for the group that was to receive the sacrament last month at Sacred Heart Cathedral.

Another group of 33 first Communion students is taught by Sister Luci Romero every Saturday. That group will make first Communion in July, she said, and likely at St. Mary of the Lake Church in Ontario, which is part of St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish. The move to the nearby parish, which has been supportive of the migrant community at St. Gregory, will better accommodate the children and their families, added Sister Romero, who is migrant minister for Wayne County.

Masses at the tiny St. Gregory Church are usually overflowing, she said. The faith-formation classes, in fact, are held in separate spaces. Sister Romero teaches in the church hall in the basement, and Father Flores across the road in a small house that is part of the church property.

Families also are involved in the faith-formation program, noted Sister Romero. Parents volunteer as class helpers and bring in lunch, she said.

"A group of mothers is always helping me," remarked Sister Romero.

The parents also serve as great models about the life lessons she strives to instill in the children in addition to helping them grow in their faith, she added.

"We want them (the children) to learn how to work as a team and work in community," said Sister Romero.

Father Flores said that the hope is that the formation of the children remains ongoing and leads them to a deeper relationship with God.

"When they are confirmed, we will continue," he added. "The journey doesn’t end there."

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